Although over the past year we have not been able to gather for in-person events, hopefully that tide is changing! Soon we will once again be able to share meals and provide refreshments to program participants – making it a good time to review these guidelines and remind ourselves about the importance of nutrition, which is so integral to adolescent health.
By making simple changes to the food and drinks we serve at programs, groups, and community events, we can impact young people’s health in positive and powerful ways. As a provider of youth services, you are in an ideal position to help young people improve their health by offering healthy food choices, raising awareness about nutrition, and engaging participants in menu planning and food preparation activities. This publication provides you with easy and practical ideas on how to accomplish these tasks, including factual information, recipes, money-saving tips, and implementation strategies. In the process, your program may help to support healthy eating habits and life skills that not only ensure proper growth during a critical development stage but will continue into adulthood.
We hope that by following these Guidelines, you can make a difference in the lives of our youth and in the generations to come.
As we look to reopen the doors to schools, community centers, and youth spaces to welcome youth back to in-person programming, we put a few resources together to help you plan and prepare for this experience. We recognize that every provider’s in-person programming space may look different and that ultimately you’ll be asked to follow the safety guidelines and protocols of your individual hosts. Still, we wanted to provide resources, helpful tips, and suggestions to help you remain as safe as possible and stay committed to delivering a quality program.
Please note that we looked to provide the most recent and up to date information, acknowledging that new safety guidelines could be added in the very near future. Where possible on the web resources below, please look for the date posted to ensure you’re flowing the most current information possible.
I’m writing to let you know about transitions that will be happening during this year. Jutta Dotterweich, our long-term Director of Training and TA, will be retiring in June 2021. Jutta has been with ACT for Youth since it began in July of 2000 and has built our training program. She has been an extraordinary leader of our training/TA efforts – whose vast knowledge of positive youth development, and vision for how best to build capacity to promote adolescent health and prevent risky behaviors, has been appreciated by generations of youth workers, educators and colleagues across NYS and beyond. To say she will be missed is an understatement!
As we move forward during this transition period, some of Jutta’s responsibilities will be passed on to Mary Maley. An experienced trainer with expertise in evidence-based programming, Mary has been with ACT for Youth since 2011, most recently leading our CDC-funded research. Mary will provide research support for developing training and web resources, cover Jutta’s caseload of provider assignments and take on additional training responsibilities as needed. She will join Heather, Michele and Marisol on the training/TA team.
We will miss Jutta but rest assured you will continue to receive our expertise and support in meeting your goals and needs.
In recent months we have talked a lot about virtual implementation of evidence-based programs. Re-opening plans for schools and community-based youth organizations have been varied and challenging. Conditions have changed frequently and at times abruptly.
To address these complexities, and with fidelity and quality delivery of EBPs in mind, we have developed implementation strategies and tools that will help you plan and prepare for a successful virtual implementation.
Steps to consider
Investigate what the implementation conditions are at the implementation site – use the preparation checklist to plan and prepare for virtual or hybrid implementation.
Send the virtual implementation plan to your ACT TA provider for review and discussion.
Once approved, you can start implementing and refer to the virtual implementation plan when you enter cycle data into the ORS.
Virtual presentations are quite different from in-person presentations.
In our recent virtual presentations skills workshops we identified and discussed lots of potential technical and personal delivery issues. We highly recommend that presenters prepare thoroughly and practice. Consider building in time for an extra introductory session with young people to do warm-up or team-building activities and practice the interactive features of the platform you are using. Young people may not be familiar with some of these features. Interacting and communicating via technology may take more time than you may expect. We recommend adding 2-3 extra sessions to your EBP implementation schedule.
Here are two additional tools to help you plan and prepare:
Over the past months many of you have participated in various work groups and ACT virtual training events and explored online platforms and material. As we are all learning, to stay alert and engaged online you have to change things up–so that’s what we’re going to do!
In October we will be hosting regional provider meetings. This idea actually came from you. In recent weeks several providers suggested organizing virtual regional provider meetings. ACT will host the meetings but the agenda and discussion will be set by you. This will be an opportunity to discuss outreach efforts, implementation challenges, and working with schools and community-based organizations in this new era of COVID-19. And you can talk about specific regional issues that impact your work. You can share successes, resources, and challenges and engage in joint problem solving.
Participation is voluntary. CAPP, PREP, and SRAE educators and supervisors are welcome. We have divided upstate into three groups and downstate into five groups (see regional meeting groups document below), although if you feel a stronger affinity with another region (especially upstate) you are free to join another provider meeting.
We’ll discuss this article, which is an interview with the developers of a toolkit to be used by any school stakeholder (including students, educators, parents, administrators, and the wider community) to combat white nationalist organizing in schools.
If you are interested in seeing the toolkit itself, use this link to request a copy from Western States Center:
In “The Happiness Lab” podcast series, Yale professor Dr. Laurie Santos guides us through the latest scientific research and shares surprising and inspiring stories that may alter the way you think about happiness and coping.